If you could become a Women of Faith speaker what would you talk about?
I’ve been to several WoF conferences over the years. The first one was such a surprise–talk about God working in mysterious ways. A women at our church offered tickets and, being a new member, I signed up and asked if I could ride with her and her friends. I didn’t realize that I was infringing on a group of women who knew EVERYTHING about each other. While the women weren’t anything but nice and polite, I could tell their relationship went beyond just Sundays at church.
God does like to put us in uncomfortable situations, doesn’t he? Maybe He thinks we are going to grow or something.
While all the speakers at the conferences have been amazing, there were two women who really stood out for me at the conference–Nicole Johnson and Anita Renfroe.
Anita’s “Weird Al Yankovic” repertoire made me almost pee in my pants (which isn’t hard to do, given I’ve had three children). I immediately went home and found her version of the William Tell Overture and played it for my family. For some reason, the children weren’t quite as impressed with it as I was. Apparently they’d heard it all before….
|But it was Nicole Johnson’s dramas that really stood out for me. It was like she’d taken my word, my life, my stories and put them on stage for everyone to see.I did forensics in college–no, not what Quincy does (oh, God, I’m dating myself). Not what Dr. G does– but a competition involving public speaking.|
If I could speak at a Women of Faith event, I would try do something like Nicole Johnson does. I would use drama and humor to explain how God puts us in really strange places in order for us to grow and learn. He made me a mother, a daughter, and a wife all so I would have a never ending supply of material. I’ve spoke at my church about how I always had prayed that God would give me patience and a sense of humor so He gave me The Boy and The Girl. The Baby is my reward for not killing The Boy and The Girl. But I’ll tell you one thing, I now have a lot more patience and am funny as heck.
Now, my group of women are the ones organizing the conference weekend. We have a bible study/women’s group every Wednesday night. Some of us have gone on vacations together. Our children spend so much time with each other that they act like siblings (can we talk about the drama surrounding tweeners)? We have a relationship that goes beyond church on Sundays.
Could you say I’ve become one of those women? I hope not. I think I learned from my experience. Because I grew up in a dysfunctional home (but then again, who didn’t), I am always seriously amazed when anyone wants to be my friend. Shocked really. I assume someone is really talking to the person behind me, or they are looking for another Rebecca who attends our church, or that they are really talking on their bluetooth and not speaking to me at all. When one of the newer members of the mom’s group asked to spend time with me one day, I was convinced she’d mistaken me for another member of the group. Why on earth would she want to hang out with me? But I decided to humor her, and after her son puked on my carpet the first time she came over to my house, I knew we were perfect for each other. Vomit brings people together.
But when she started coming to our group, I was nervous. I really had to move outside my comfort zone to welcome her. I had to actively decide that I might have something to offer her. I think that’s why I never clicked with the original group of women–I didn’t think that I had anything to offer them and, more than likely, they probably didn’t feel like they had anything to offer me.
God made women the way we are as a special gift. We are created to need one another in ways that men can’t understand. My husband can have a five minute conversation on the phone with his brother that consists of several “yes” “no” “really” and “okay,” and have caught up on six months of his life. I can have a one- hour conversation with my girlfriends and still need to see them later that day. God wants us to learn from each other. It took me several years (okay, decades) to have girlfriends. I was the tomboy who was the best friend to all the boys. I used to tell myself it was because I couldn’t stand the drama that women brought to a situation. Only after I had children did I really start to look for companionship with other women. Probably because I needed validation that I wasn’t entirely wrecking my children’s emotional and mental health (I am, but not any more than any of the other moms I know).
Having that bond with women has changed my life. God has given me the sisters that I never had growing up. He’s given me role models and mentors who have lifted me up and smacked me (lovingly) back to reality. Every woman who shares my life has taught me something. As a Women of Faith speaker, I would love the opportunity to share my experiences with other women. I would love to come from the place of having something to offer other women. I could show them how they have something to offer other women.
Now when we start promoting the WoF conference (coming to Philly in September) I make it a point to reach out to women who aren’t part of my group. I make it a point to invite and encourage women with whom I think I don’t have anything in common. I make it a point to trust God that they might have something to offer me and–more importantly–that I might have something to offer them. And if all else fails, I can see if one of my kids can puke on them.
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